The action was taken by UNISON against Stockport MBC after Mrs Bentley was required by the head of the Hollywood Park nursery in Stockport, to help move some lockers from a warehouse down the street to the nursery in March 1994.
Mrs Bentley had worked at the nursery for nine years before the accident. The case was settled amidst a background of allegations against the head teacher over falsification of details of the accident including weight of the locker and distance travelled. The force required to move the locker was finally calculated as up to 75 pounds and the move over a busy main road was over a distance of up to 262 yards. She was forced throughout the pain in her back to leave the locker party way through the move.
Mrs Bentley, who is 47, said after the settlement:
'I would like to thank UNISON and my legal team, without them I could never have contemplated getting through the last few years. They all worked really hard.
UNISON health and safety officer Sarah Copsey said:
'Back injuries cost the country billions each year and the human cost is suffering and disruption to families and lives is even greater. The real tragedy is that most accidents are preventable. It is essential that employers are more aware of the risks of back injury before they ask staff to lift heavy or awkward loads. This award sends out a clear message to employers that they cannot ignore the health and safety of their employees and get away with it.'